Stephen Colbert was a guest on Bob Schieffer’s About The News podcast this week where he weighed in on Donald Trump’s presidency and the media. Colbert, host of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, and the legendary newscaster started off their lengthy conversation by discussing Trump’s staffers using alternative facts and fake news.
Long before Trump announced his candidacy for president, Colbert and Jon Stewart’s satirical programs on Comedy Central were seen as a form of fake news. Trump’s administration attacked CNN as being fake news as recently as today, and it agitates the former host of The Colbert Report when his former character is compared to content that’s purposefully misleading.
“It really upsets me when people are saying ‘Oh, you’re fake news, and this is fake news.’ There’s no relationship between the two of them,” Colbert said. “Real fake news is being transparent that you’re being fake.
“What people are describing as fake news now is just plain lying.”
Reports have found that fake news throughout the election was shared and viewed more on social media than factual news articles. Kellyanne Conway, counselor to Trump, recently made up the non-existent Bowling Green Massacre and infamously said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was giving alternative facts when discussing the crowd at Trump’s inauguration.
Trump himself has had a sticky relationship with the truth in his first few weeks as president. Just this week, Trump falsely claimed the U.S. murder rate is the highest it’s been in 45 years and that the media is choosing not to report on terrorist attacks around the world. Both statements have been proven to be untrue.
“I invented the over-the-top television personality who desperately wants to be loved, is willing to accept emotion over fact, and has a pet eagle,” Colbert said. “[Trump] really is a collection of emotions in search of a purpose, and that’s what my whole character was, and I do really feel like he’s stolen my gig a little bit.”
Trump’s presidency has led to a significant ratings boost for The Late Show host. The New York Times reports that for the first time in a year and a half, Colbert is beating The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in total viewers.
“Colbert’s show has taken on a political charge in recent months, and it has only accelerated since Trump won the election. He has been openly critical of Trump, and last week Jon Stewart, Colbert’s old late-night partner on Comedy Central, appeared in a scathing segment.”
Since Trump’s election, Colbert has used his open monologues to summarize the plethora of news coming out of the Trump administration. Even though Fallon’s ratings with 18- to 48-year-olds is higher, it’s clear that Colbert’s political commentary is working.
Schieffer also brought up Trump’s affinity for watching television with Colbert. Schieffer asked if he thinks Trump got ideas from watching his character host The Colbert Report.
“I was on the air for a little over 8 years, and he was like ‘okay that’s a little over two terms, I’ll try that,'” Colbert joked.
“I mean I might’ve been an inspiration and, if so, I apologize.”
On Thursday’s The Late Show, Colbert threw several jabs at the Trump administration after Winter Storm Niko closed down schools across the Northeast.
“I think they should’ve named [the storm] Betsy DeVos,” Colbert quipped.
Colbert went on to say that Twitter should’ve used the hashtag #FlakeNews to document the storm before commenting on Conway’s potential violation of federal ethics laws by endorsing Ivanka Trump’s clothing line live on Fox News.
“Watching her do that on a TV show is weird,” he said. “Don’t you think it should be against the rules for a White House employee to shill products? Funny story: it is. There are these vague kind of rules called laws.”
[Featured Image by Pool/Getty Images]